Starting Jan. 4 the Mayor's Health and Fitness Challenge will encourage Ormond Beach participants to live a healthier lifestyle.
BY EMILY BLACKWOOD | STAFF WRITER
For Ormond Beach residents who have made getting fit one of their new year's resolutions, you're in luck.
The 12-week Mayor's Health and Fitness Challenge 2014 begins on Jan. 4 and includes three months of free, limited access to the YMCA, more than 40 free classes at participating local fitness centers, and special menu items at participating local restaurants in the $25 registration fee.
Mayor Ed Kelley said the program was started out of an awareness of the lack of fitness not only in Ormond Beach but in the rest of the country.
"People are not taking the time for their health," Kelley said. "It's not just physical fitness, working out or body building, it's a lifestyle. The better shape you're in, the healthier you will be. You can maintain a good lifestyle if you are healthy and physically fit. Then you can do more and enjoy life."
Greg Evans, owner of partnering restaurant Alfie's, said he is going to have a special menu for participants of the program, along with showing the nutritional value of his restaurant's meals.
"It is a great community service they are doing," Evans said. "I know in my restaurant people are always looking for ways to eat healthy. If we don't provide that opportunity for them, then they won't eat at our restaurant."
Evans also participated in the program last year and lost 30 pounds. Through the program and with some continued practice, he was able to accomplish something he never thought he would do in his 50s.
"I thought there was no way I could run the bridge," Evans chuckled. "Even though I had been losing weight, I'm 50 years old."
But after constant walking with a group of friends, he eventually accomplished the feat.
"The more people involved, the better it will be for the community," Evans said.
And impacting the community in a positive way is one of the reasons the YMCA is partnering with the challenge, according to YMCA's regional wellness director, Randolyn Haley.
"Our goal ultimately is to have people come in and be able to see what everything is all about and hopefully continue with their journey," Haley said. "The challenge itself is a great idea. New Smyrna is doing it this year. It's about a healthy nation, and it's exciting to see other mayors doing this."
Healthy tips for a healthy start
Randolyn Haley gives her advice for those Ormond Beach residents who need some guidance on changing to a healthier lifestyle.
1) Set small goals and reward yourself when you accomplish them.
2) Don't skip nutrition. You need to feed your body with the right kinds of healthy foods in order to have a healthy workout.
3) Start out slow. If you're used to a sedentary lifestyle, it's important to pace yourself so you don't get injured.
4) Add some company. Working out with a friend or joining a class can really help motivate you.
5) Balance weight training and cardio. Endurance, strength and flexibility are necessary for a healthy lifestyle.
Haley works as a wellness director for the YMCA and has a bachelor's degree in athletic training and sports medicine from Florida Gulf Coast University.